Wednesday, April 30, 2008



Horns blaring in a deafening fanfare, a convoy of truck drivers traveled to Washington on Monday to protest record fuel prices.

Members of Truckers and Citizens United circled the National Mall before parking their rigs at RFK Stadium. From there, about 100 protesters marched and took shuttles to the Capitol, where an afternoon rally was held.

"The high price for oil is hurting our economy," organizer Mark Kirsch said. "It's hurting middle class people."

The national average price of a gallon of regular gasoline is a record $3.51, according to a recent survey of stations by AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. The price for diesel — used to transport most food, industrial and commercial goods — is $4.20 a gallon.

Dave Gares, an independent trucker from Lebanon, Pa., said the $1,400 it costs to fill up his tractor-trailer with 220 gallons of diesel fuel has been a drain on his income.

William Lockridge of the Washington Metropolitan Area Truckers Association said independent truckers are barely breaking even. "If the truck stops, the economy stops," he said.

The truckers are urging Congress to stop subsidizing big oil companies, release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves, and end exports of oil from Alaska, among other things.

Admirable, but futile. By taking their protest to Capitol Hill instead of the Fed, those truckers missed an opportunity to rattle Bernanke's office window with their horns during a week when he'll probably lower rates yet again and inflict more pain at the gas pump. But how many of those truckers have even heard of the Federal Reserve or Ben Bernanke (or Hank Paulson, for that matter)? If they're like the drivers I interviewed at the end of this article, we know the answer. The Fed's vaunted "independence" isn't so much political (everyone knows that's a joke) as it is psychological; the arcana of monetary policy keeps the Fed off the maps of the tour bus set, and that's just fine with those who work there. Out of mind, out of sight.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I just read your article in the American Conservative. Why don't you mention the courage of Carter in appointing Paul Volcker?

4/30/2008 2:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many of those truckers support the deficit-funded, trillion-dollar American war in Iraq?

4/30/2008 3:11 AM  
Anonymous b-psycho said...

How much did the fuel cost they used to drive through D.C.?

It's painful, but at least I can take some of the edge off by thinking positively: the more frustrating oil costs get, the more likely we'll finally switch to something else. Any development that leads people to conclude "oil isn't worth the hassle" is good in the long run, IMO.

4/30/2008 2:48 PM  
Blogger LFC said...

How many voted for Bush in '04, when he was well along in his process of destroying the U.S. dollar and, in the process, adding 50% to cost of a barrel of oil above and beyond what the Euro countries pay?

Hey, truckers. If you want more of the same, vote McCain. He's proposing dollar destroying fiscal policies too.

4/30/2008 4:59 PM  
Anonymous Ian Thorpe said...

Here in Britain the pump price is £5 (about $10 at yesterrday's exchange rate)

Nobody is driving less, we all have places to go (work, shopping, visiting our Dear Old Mum) just the same. So we grit our teeth and carry on.

But people are starting to catch on to the fact that around 70% of the cost of fuel is tax. So it is not the oil companies who are getting the main windfall profit but the Government.

Oh well, it will pay for Britain's contribution to the invasion of Iran I guess.

5/01/2008 12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have noticed the odd Yank Tank (ridiculously sized trucks for personal use that serve little purpose other than bolstering the owners fragile ego) driving around Sydney in the last few years. Yesterday I saw a billboard at the airport advertising 'the Hummer'. It is amazing to think that mini-monster trucks are practically the norm in the US. It's like women that spend ridiculous sums on attaining fashionable looks, but achive the mutton-dressed-as-lamb look. It seems the yanks, and now we Aussies, are watching way too much T.V and some of us will be doomed to pay the price. While it may be unfortunate that costs for real trucking may be un-recoverable, I say 'suffer in your jocks' to those who've lost control of their egos and pissed their money away on big cars, houses and stupid fashion.

5/02/2008 10:43 AM  

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